Newbiggin author is an internet hit

Written on December 30th, 2010 by Adam in Reviews, Interviews & Mentions

by Paul Tully, The Journal

LIKE any good author, Adam Maxwell loves to rummage around in old bookshops.

But the 34-year-old North Easterner is pressing the technological button on a new age for books which has transformed his writing career.

For Wearside-born Adam, now living on the Northumberland coast, has racked up a legion of new fans by surpassing 27,000 computer downloads of his series of short story collections.

But while he heralds the new age of downloaded books, he also admits: “I would hate to think this is a death knell for any bookshop.”

Adam, who lives at Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, got a masters degree in creative writing at Northumbria University in 2003 and published his first collection, Dial M for Monkey, in paperback in 2006.

Sales were limited, however, and sensing the possibilities of the internet, in 2007 he started a podcast featuring himself reading his stories. By 2008 he was the proud holder of the North East Digital Awards Best Podcast accolade.

After being made redundant from a web design job in Newcastle – “recession, difficult times, redundancies, and I was one of them” – he set up his own web design business called Superhighwaymen. In November 2009 he went a step further by putting Dial M For Monkey on the website Feedbooks – and was astonished when the title achieved 11,000 downloads.

He followed that with a comedy entitled The Defective Detective (also available in paperback) – and watched with joy as that hit 16,000 downloads.

Now Adam’s new collection, Chills, Kills and Snowflakes, which was launched on Boxing Day, has already achieved 600 downloads and is available on his own website, www.adammaxwell.com. “It’s all way beyond my expectations, to be honest,” said Adam. “At the beginning, in print form, I was struggling to get a few hundred sales, so I felt I wasn’t going to lose anything by giving it away for free.

“After all, people would ask: ‘Who on earth is Adam Maxwell?’ But since putting the books on the internet, it’s all changed and people are getting to know who I am.

“In fact, I’m told now that hardbacks are being outsold by ebooks. But I hope print is never going to be dead, because it’s still wonderful to hold that printed book in your hand. A bookshop is a marvellous place, where you can spend so long looking around. It’s the convenience of pressing a button that is changing things. I’ve had downloads in China, Japan, the Virgin Islands as well as the main sources, the UK and the US.

“I think also that I’ve benefited from the fact that people have been buying iPads and Kindles and mobiles at Christmas, and the whole downloads thing is really taking off.”

Originally appeared in print and online here on the Journal’s website.